Sunday, 18 August 2013

Osmotherley Phoenix 33mi. 06/07/2013.

Race 7 of 12 in the 2013 Runfurther series.

Britain's summer heatwave was well underway for this year's annual pilgrimage to Osmotherley, to make it the hottest Phoenix ever for me and for the event, by all accounts. It made it more of a (de)hydration suffer-fest than usual for many. My three tablets for 1.5 litres of electrolyte (in addition to the water I was drinking) proved not to be enough and caused a major slowdown after I took the above picture. Emergency water supplies using every available container were out there on the course.

Before 9am under the blue sky and bunting of the Osmotherley Summer Games, the familiar announcements were being made for our send-off. A new amplification system was in use but seeing as it was battery-powered and woefully underpowered, only those of us at the front could hear them. Something that’s plugged-in with ten times the power output might be better for next year.

Once underway, the contrast to last year couldn't have been starker. The mud and puddles had been replaced by mostly dry and hard ground – much better for faster times except for the heat. As the day progressed, the temperature built up to the high twenties. Only a slight breeze on the tops brought some welcome relief from the oven-like conditions lower down. The conditions would cause several retirements, several shorter route choices and one collapse (fortunately nothing serious). For some of us who battled to the end, the light-headedness that usually catches us in the final stages of this event was accompanied by nausea as well as we struggled to maintain electrolyte balance and adequate hydration.

After Carlton Bank checkpoint I was impressed by the purists who continued ahead to the top to take the tougher route along the Cleveland Way via Wainstones. On such a perfect day the wide-ranging views were more important to them than the shade and speed of the easier lower level route through the woods, but they still beat me anyway (too fit for my own good if you ask me) ;-). However I did get to experience something they would have missed - the scent of the trees, especially the pines, brought out by the hot sun. Another runner commented to me that it reminded him of running in southern Spain. It reminded me of California.

With the way thing have been going for me this year I sensed a PB might have been on the cards. However, as would be expected in the hot conditions with my slowdown and dragging my electrolyte-imbalanced arse across the tops and back down to Osmotherley, a PB eluded me, but it wasn't a PW either. 7:05 was faster than last year and the year before, so not bad considering.

As for the 'elites', the winning time was phenomenal given the conditions, apparently only 1 minute outside the record. First male was Jayson Cavill in 4:32, with Simon Deakin and Ed Williams finishing equal second in 4:57. First female was Charmaine Horsfall in 5:57, with Cathy Wood hot on her heels for second in 5:59. They knock my time into perspective.

Recovering at the finish line.

My pictures are here.

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